Japanese package designers decided to take the boring barcodes and add designs around them. You forget that the barcodes are there at all. Also on the link, there are examples of other barcode-related designs, even a building with a barcode as the fascade.
Reviews on Amazon for a £0.13 Bic Pen
Reviewers go wild in writing about a Bic pen on Amazon. For example:
The utilitarian design hints at its mass production “just works” values. There is a subtlety to the form that evokes feelings of bauhaus, or even art deco values.
When I took hold of this pen, my dreams soared. I felt that with this, I could produce anything. Dreams, ideas, hopes, fears, would all be ennobled by this simple tool placing them on paper.
However, my soul is harmed by the knowledge that it ultimately does not fulfill my hopes and aspirations. Let me explain, dear reader, this is no laughing matter.
Imagine a boot stamping on your face when you cry with hopes for a better World. That’s what it felt like when I went about trying to actually use this pen. It mocked me. It shouted at me. It told me I was not worthy. In short, it jilted me.
To get it working, you have to scribble it around on a pad, rather than the ink simply flowing luxuriantly. This frustrating process distracts you and interferes with your creative process. It’s like the pen thinks your ideas don’t deserve to be put to paper.
The warmth of the plastic sheath juxtaposes the coolness of the metal nib nicely in the hand, but the unforgiving firm flatness of the form can leave a small depression in the index finger. This causes a pain that shifts into a numbness that is quite uncomfortable.
Finally, if you should accidentally stand on it, it will shatter into painful shards: much like the dreams it shatters with it.
Like an old lover, I have a fond respect for the happy times I spent with this pen, but also like a lover I realise the reasons why it could never work. We are better off without each other. I only hope we both find happiness without each other.